Courses

Below is a list of courses that can count towards a public health concentration.

Core Course

PHLH 201(S)Dimensions of Public Health

Public health is concerned with protecting and improving health at the level of a community or population. Although individual behavior is an essential element of public health, collective, rather than individual, outcomes are the focus of public health study. In this course we will survey the field of public health, introducing students to core concepts and methods that highlight the interrelationship of individual choice and social institutions with environmental and biological factors in producing health outcomes at the population level. We will develop these concepts and methods within the context of signal cases and public health crises, covering infectious disease epidemics and prevention, sexual health, and mental health. [ more ]

PHLH 402(S)Senior Seminar in Public Health

This course is designed to provide senior concentrators the opportunity to delve into the public health literature. Students will read, discuss, and compose written reflections on primary source empirical papers addressing a range of issues and disciplines in the field of public health, including topics in the social determinants of health, environmental health risks, and access to health care. Students will also be divided into three or four research teams to investigate a contemporary real-life issue in public health by designing a study; collecting and analyzing data; and disseminating findings by written report and formal oral presentation to the public health advisory committee faculty. Some amount of off-campus travel may be required either in spring break or the latter half of the semester. The capstone course is required of all concentrators, but may be opened to other students with relevant experience at the discretion of the instructor and the advisory committee, if space permits. [ more ]

Statistics Courses

  • Statistics

    STAT 101(F, S)Elementary Statistics and Data Analysis

    It is impossible to be an informed citizen in the world today without an understanding of data and information. Whether opinion polls, unemployment rates, salary differences between men and women, the efficacy of vaccines or consumer webdata, we need to be able to separate the signal from the noise. We will learn the statistical methods used to analyze and interpret data from a wide variety of sources. The goal of the course is to help reach conclusions and make informed decisions based on data. [ more ]

    PSYC 201(F, S)Experimentation and Statistics

    An introduction to the basic principles of research in psychology. We focus on how to design and execute experiments, analyze and interpret the results, and write research reports. Students conduct a series of research studies in different areas of psychology that illustrate basic designs and methods of analysis. [ more ]

    STAT 201(F, S)Statistics and Data Analysis

    Statistics can be viewed as the art and science of turning data into information. Real world decision-making, whether in business or science is often based on data and the perceived information it contains. Sherlock Holmes, when prematurely asked the merits of a case by Dr. Watson, snapped back, "Data, data, data! I can't make bricks without clay." In this course, we will study the basic methods by which statisticians attempt to extract information from data. These will include many of the standard tools of statistical inference such as hypothesis testing, confidence intervals, and linear regression as well as exploratory and graphical data analysis techniques. This is an accelerated introductory statistics course that involves computational programming and incorporates modern statistical techniques. [ more ]

    STAT 202(F, S)Introduction to Statistical Modeling

    Data come from a variety of sources sometimes from planned experiments or designed surveys, but also arise by much less organized means. In this course we'll explore the kinds of models and predictions that we can make from both kinds of data as well as design aspects of collecting data. We'll focus on model building, especially multiple regression, and talk about its potential as well as its limits to answer questions about the world. We'll emphasize applications over theory and analyze real data sets throughout the course. [ more ]

    STAT 231 TStatistical Design of Experiments

    Not offered this year

    What does statistics have to do with designing and carrying out experiments? The answer is, surprisingly perhaps, a great deal. In this course, we will study how to design an experiment with the fewest number of observations possible to achieve a certain power. We will also learn how to analyze and present the resulting data and draw conclusions. After reviewing basic statistical theory and two sample comparisons, we cover one and two-way ANOVA and (fractional) factorial designs extensively. The culmination of the course will be a project where each student designs, carries out, analyzes, and presents an experiment of interest to him or her. Throughout the course, we will use the free statistical software program R to carry out the statistical analysis. [ more ]

    POEC 253(F)Empirical Methods in Political Economy

    This course introduces students to common empirical tools used in policy analysis and implementation. The broad aim is to train students to be discriminating consumers of public policy-relevant research. The emphasis in the course is on intuitive understanding of the central concepts. Through hands-on work with data and critical assessment of existing empirical social scientific research, students will develop the ability to choose and employ the appropriate tool for a particular research problem, and to understand the limitations of the techniques. Topics to be covered include basic principles of probability; random variables and distributions; statistical estimation, inference and hypothesis testing; and modeling using multiple regression, with a particular focus on understanding whether and how relationships between variables can be determined to be causal--an essential requirement for effective policy formation. Throughout the course, the focus will be on public policy applications relevant to the fields of political science, sociology, and public health, as well as to economics. [ more ]

    ECON 255(F, S)Econometrics

    An introduction to the theory and practice of applied quantitative economic analysis. This course familiarizes students with the strengths and weaknesses of the basic empirical methods used by economists to evaluate economic theory against economic data. Emphasizes both the statistical foundations of regression techniques and the practical application of those techniques in empirical research. Computer exercises will provide experience in using the empirical methods, but no previous computer experience is expected. Highly recommended for students considering graduate training in economics or public policy. [ more ]

    STAT 372Longitudinal Data Analysis: Modeling Change over Time

    Not offered this year

    This course explores modern statistical methods for drawing scientific inferences from longitudinal data, i.e., data collected repeatedly on experimental units over time. The independence assumption made for most classical statistical methods does not hold with this data structure because we have multiple measurements on each individual. Topics will include linear and generalized linear models for correlated data, including marginal and random effect models, as well as computational issues and methods for fitting these models. We will consider many applications in the social and biological sciences. [ more ]

    STAT 440(F)Categorical Data Analysis

    This course focuses on methods for analyzing categorical response data. In contrast to continuous data, categorical data consist of observations classified into two or more categories. Traditional tools of statistical data analysis are not designed to handle such data and pose inappropriate assumptions. We will develop methods specifically designed to address the discrete nature of the observations and consider many applications in the social and biological sciences as well as in medicine, engineering and economics. All methods can be viewed as extensions of traditional regression models and ANOVA. [ more ]

Elective Courses

  • Bioethics + Interpretations of Health

    PHIL 212 / WGSS 212Ethics and Reproductive Technologies

    Not offered this year

    In her groundbreaking book, The Tentative Pregnancy, Barbara Katz Rothman writes that "[t]he technological revolution in reproduction is forcing us to confront the very meaning of motherhood, to examine the nature and origins of the mother-child bond, and to replace--or to let us think we can replace--chance with choice." Taking this as our starting point, in this course we will examine a number of conceptual and ethical issues in the use and development of technologies related to human reproduction, drawing out their implications for such core concepts as "motherhood" and "parenthood," family and genetic relatedness, exploitation and commodification, and reproductive rights and society's interests in reproductive activities. Topics will range from consideration of "mundane" technologies such as in vitro fertilization (IVF), prenatal genetic screening and testing, and surrogacy, to the more extraordinary, possibly including pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), post-menopausal reproduction, and post-mortem gamete procurement. Background readings include sources rooted in traditional modes of bioethical analysis as well as those incorporating feminist approaches. [ more ]

    PHIL 213 T(S)Biomedical Ethics

    Much like the construction of medical knowledge itself, it is from specific cases that general principles of biomedical ethics arise and are systematized into a theoretical framework, and it is to cases they must return, if they are to be both useful and comprehensible to those making decisions within the biomedical context. In this tutorial we will exploit this characteristic of biomedical ethics by using a case-based approach to examining core concepts of the field. The first portion of the course will be devoted to developing and understanding four moral principles which have come to be accepted as canonical: respect for autonomy, beneficence, nonmaleficence, and justice. The remainder of the course will consider key concepts at the core of medical ethics and central issues for the field, such as privacy and confidentiality, the distinction between killing and "letting die," therapy vs. research, and enhancement vs. therapy. To this end, each week we will (1) read philosophical material focused on one principle or concept, and (2) consider in detail one bioethics case in which the principle or concept has special application or relevance. In some weeks, students will be asked to choose from a small set which case they would like to address; in others the case will be assigned. [ more ]

    PHIL 227(F)Death and Dying

    In this course we will examine traditional philosophical approaches to understanding death and related concepts, with a special focus on the ethical concerns surrounding death and care for the dying. We will begin with questions about how to define death, as well as reflections on its meaning and function in human life. We will move on to examine ethical issues of truth-telling with terminally ill patients and their families, decisions to withhold or withdraw life-sustaining treatments, the care of seriously ill newborns, physician-assisted suicide, euthanasia, and posthumous interests. In addition to key concepts of death, dying, and terminal illness, we will develop and refine notions of medical futility, paternalism and autonomy, particularly within the context of advance directives and surrogate decision making. [ more ]

    PHIL 228 / WGSS 228Feminist Bioethics

    Not offered this year

    In this course we'll explore the ways in which feminist approaches to moral thinking have influenced both the methodology and the content of contemporary bioethics. The first portion of the course will address the emergence of the "Ethics of Care," critically assessing its origins in feminist theory, its development within the context of the caring professions, and its potential as a general approach to bioethical reasoning. The second portion of the course will use feminist philosophy to inform our understanding of the ways in which gender structures the individual's interactions with the health care system. To do this we'll explore topics that might traditionally be considered "women's issues" in health care, such as medicine and body image (e.g., cosmetic surgery, eating disorders), reproductive and genetic technologies, and research on women and their health care needs. In addition we'll also look at feminist analyses of topics that traditionally have not been regarded as "gendered," such as resource allocation and end of life issues. As a course offered under the Exploring Diversity Initiative, this class is designed to improve students' ability to recognize both the existence and the effects of gender disparities within the health care context, and in particular, how power and privilege within and beyond medicine contribute to gender inequalities in health and medical treatment. Moreover, students will theorize about ways of conceptualizing and of reforming health care interactions in order to reduce or eliminate those gender inequalities. [ more ]

    COMP 232 TReading and Writing the Body

    Not offered this year

    Am I a body, or do I have one? The western tradition of favoring our intellectual and spiritual experience over the physical has long informed, and indeed limited, our sense of self as human beings. While some writers maintain that the creative impulse is a gift of the muse and that it is rooted entirely in the mind or spirit, there are those for whom the human body, frequently their own, plays a central role, both in the process of creation and as a subject of artistic inquiry and contemplation. In their writing, these authors tell a very different tale with regard to the human experience, and it is focused on the primacy of the body. This course will consider the work of, among others, Maupassant, Kafka, Tanizaki, Tolstoy, Dinesen, Collodi, Babel, and Atwood in order to examine how writers from different cultural and aesthetic perspectives either present or use the body as a vehicle of expression. We will also consider other areas of study that are intimately related to the life of the body, such as asceticism, pathology, prostitution, and disability. [ more ]

    WGSS 246 T / ANTH 246 / ASST 246 / REL 246(F)India's Identities: Reproducing the Nation,Community and Individual

    This course considers India's contradictory legacy as a booming Asian democracy and fragile society built upon deep and enduring divisions. Why is India's growing population so often described in terms of multiple identities or fragmenting oppositions -- Hindu/Muslim, rich/poor, high caste/outcaste, male/female? What are the historic roots and ongoing causes that produce structural violence around these axes of difference? We pay particular attention to key moments (Partition, communal riots in Gujarat in 2003, Hyderabad in 1990, Delhi in 1984), and places (Punjab, Bengal, Jammu & Kashmir) for our analysis of how religion, gender, and caste intersect to produce a landscape of communal violence, social hierarchy, and fragmented subjectivity in India today. We are as interested in discourses and practices that shore up these binaries as well as the third terms that attempt to transcend or diffuse them. For instance, we look at how Buddhism is and is not a middle path between Hindu/Muslim conflict in Indian Kashmir. Our course readings include ethnographic, sociological, and historical analyses, as well as oral histories and popular media. This course fulfills the Exploring Diversity Initiative by theorizing the ways that difference has been used to effect profound historical & social changes in India. [ more ]

    WGSS 249 / ANTH 248 / ASST 248 / INST 248 / REL 248Body Politics in South Asia: Gender, Sex, Religion, and Nation

    Not offered this year

    This course examines the relationship between body, gender, sex, and society in South Asia, using three countries and religions---India, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh, and Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam---as its foil. The course uses the body as a lens by which to unpack South Asian discourses that link body and sexuality with nation, community, and population. In particular, it explores a South Asian sociology that links individual and social bodies in ways that occasion solidarity as well as social suffering, violence as well as communal cohesion. How do bodies come to signify the purity or prosperity of the nation or community and with what social or discursive effects? We begin by unpacking foundational theories of the body as proposed by Mauss, Foucault, Douglas, and Bourdieu in order to better understand how local discourses of the body help produce gender and other social hierarchies in South Asia. By considering how the human body can serve as a map for society and vice versa, we examine both classical discourses and modern institutional practices of the body including the temple, the monastery, the mosque, and the mendicant, as well as bodily practices such as yoga, celibacy, sex work, and new reproductive technologies. We also analyze how the body has served as a symbol of nation, community, and social health. Throughout, we are interested in the cross-cutting effects of gender and sex in perpetuating structural hierarchies and social suffering around the body in South Asia. [ more ]

    CHIN 253 / COMP 254 / WGSS 255"Disease" in Modern Chinese Literature and Culture

    Not offered this year

    From early modern anxieties about China's status as the "sick man of Asia" to contemporary concerns regarding the prospect of transnational pandemics, "diseases" and their related stories have played a critical role in making and contesting individual psychologies and Chinese modernity in the 20th and 21st centuries. Actual diseases, from tuberculosis to AIDS, constitute not only social realities that trouble political and popular minds in their own right; but further provide powerful metaphors for exploring issues of human rights, national identity, and transnational circulation. This course examines how Chinese literature in the 20th and 21st centuries writes and visualizes "disease"--a universal human experience that is nevertheless heavily bounded by culture and history. Specifically, we examine the cultural and social meaning of "disease"; the relationship between diseases on the one hand, and the politics of body, gender, and class on the other; we ask how infectious (sexual) disease, and mental illness are defined, represented, and understood in both male and female writers' analytical essays and fictional writings in the 20th century; we examine how metaphorical "diseases," such as infectious cannibalism and fin-de-siecle "virus," are imagined and interpreted by key culture figures ranging from the founding father of modern literature (Lu Xun), to the winner of the 2012 Nobel Prize in Literature (Mo Yan), to the "Second New Wave" film director of Taiwanese Cinema (Tsai Ming-liang); and we explore how Freud's psychoanalysis and post-Freudian psychotherapy are "practiced" in literature circulated in both print and internet cultures. Throughout the course, we will focus on the interplay between literature canons (fictions, essays, and dramas) and popular media and genres: blockbuster cinemas and art house films, popular novels, photographs and posters, etc. This course meets the aims of the Exploring Diversity Initiative by fostering an empathetic understanding of various groups within China and their relationships with "disease," and by questioning the power and privilege inherent within such categories as "rural" and "urban," "science" and "literature," and "East" and "West". [ more ]

    PHIL 274 TMessing with People: The Ethics of Human Experimentation

    Not offered this year

    The Tuskegee Syphilis Study and Stanley Milgram's Obedience experiments are infamous. Yet, other lesser known experiments are equally important landmarks in research ethics, as well, such as the Willowbrook experiment, in which residents of a state home for mentally impaired children were intentionally infected with a virus that causes hepatitis, and the Kennedy-Krieger Lead Abatement study, which tested the efficacy of a new lead paint removal procedure by housing young children in partially decontaminated homes and testing those children for lead exposure. In this tutorial we'll closely examine a series of contemporary and historical cases of human experimentation (roughly, one case per week) with an eye toward elucidating the moral norms that ought to govern human subjects research. A number of conceptual themes will emerge throughout the course of the term, including notions of exploitation and coercion, privacy and confidentiality, and the balance between public interests and individual rights. Specific issues will include the ethics of placebo research, deception in research, studies of illicit/illegal behavior, genetic research, experimentation with children, pregnant women and fetuses, and persons with diminished mental capacity, among other topics. [ more ]

    SOC 332Life and Death in Modernity

    Not offered this year

    Death is a biological fact. Death is also one of the few universal parameters in and through which social worlds and individual lives are created. Death, in other words, is a primary source of the material and symbolic activities through which humans work to construct, legitimate, and maintain social realities. To attend to "ways of death", then, is to attend simultaneously, if only indirectly, to "ways of life'--the hopes and fears, the ways and wants of a people. In this course we will ask: How, why, and with what manner of consequence has it come to be that, under late-western modernity, the aged, the sick, the dying, the bereaved, and indeed death itself, are routinely "set aside", hidden from view and thus awareness, institutionally sequestered from those of us among the living? We will attend to the historical emergence of the institutional forms that perpetrate this sequestration, and show how they have become tightly articulated with one another: hospitals, nursing homes, hospice centers, funeral homes, cemeteries. We will furthermore examine the peculiar bodies of expert knowledge that have arisen in tandem with these institutional forms, among them gerontology, thanatology, and bereavement therapy, showing how they have conspired in the (bio)medicalization of aging, death, and grief. Other topics to be explored include the commodification and consumption of health and well-being; the emergence of anti-aging medicine and "popular" rationalities of human life extension; cryonic suspension, zombies, and the paranormal. [ more ]

    PHIL 337 TJustice in Health Care

    Not offered this year

    Justice is a notoriously complex and elusive philosophical concept, the conditions of which are even more difficult to articulate within real world institutions and contexts than in the abstract. In this course we'll explore justice as a fundamental moral principle and as a desideratum of the US health care system. The first portion of the course will be devoted to considering general theories of justice as well as alternative conceptions of justice within the health care context. This will provide the background for subsequent examination of specific topics, which may include, among others: justice in health care financing and reform, which may itself include an analysis of the Affordable Care Act or current legislative proposals; justice in health care rationing, with particular attention to the relationship between rationing criteria and gender, "race," disability, and age; justice in the procurement and allocation of organs for transplantation; obesity and personal responsibility for illness; and justice in medical research, including "double standards" for research conducted in less developed countries. [ more ]

    SOC 371 / HSCI 371 / SCST 371Medicine, Technology, and Modern Power

    Not offered this year

    Medicalization: those processes by which previously non-medical problems, once defined as ethical-religious, legal or social (e.g. drug and alcohol addition, shyness, obesity), are brought within the purview of medical science and redefined as medical problems, usually in terms of "illness" or "disorder." Part I: The history of the medicalization thesis; medicalization as a technical process; modern medicine as a form of social control; critiques of the medicalization thesis. Part II: From medicalization to biomedicalization; from the management of human life to the transformation of "life itself" by way of post-World War II technoscientific interventions aimed at "optimizing" human vitality. Empirical cases for consideration will be drawn from those technoscientific developments having made possible the work of optimization that defines biomedicalization: molecular biology, pharmacogenomics, biotechnologies, imaging techniques, robotics, and transplant medicine, among others. Finally, a consideration of how processes of biomedical optimization have produced new ways of seeing, knowing, and imagining human bodies, such that biology is increasingly less representative of "destiny" than it is of possibility. The course will to this end conclude with a survey of emerging issues in speculative technoscience and the ethics and politics of human enhancement. [ more ]

    HIST 374American Medical History

    Not offered this year

    This course will cover major themes in American medical history and historiography from the colonial period through the twentieth century. Every aspect of American "medicine" underwent tremendous transition during the period we will study. Medical education, the medical profession, and notions about cures and care changed fundamentally, as did ideas about the nature of illness itself. Our course of study, in addition to charting ways in which the practice of medicine in America has developed, will make an equal effort to understand how medicine has changed and affected American society. Topics that we will investigate include cholera, TB, and childbirth in American society, as well as other medical phenomena. [ more ]

  • Biomedical Determinants of Health

    CHEM 115AIDS: The Disease and Search for a Cure

    Not offered this year

    Since the discovery of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-1) in 1983, modern techniques of molecular biology have revealed much about its structure and life cycle. The intensity of the scientific investigation directed at HIV-1 is unprecedented in history. We now know more about this virus than any other known pathogen. However, the early optimism concerning the prospects for an effective AIDS vaccine has now waned and HIV strains that are resistant to drug therapies are common. We are now three decades into the AIDS pandemic and the World Health Organization estimates that there are more than 34 million HIV-infected persons worldwide. After an introduction to chemical structure, we examine the molecular biology of the HIV virus, the molecular targets of anti-HIV drugs, and the prospects for a cure. We look at how HIV-1 interacts with the human immune system and discuss prospects for developing an effective HIV vaccine. [ more ]

    BIOL 133(F)Biology of Exercise and Nutrition

    This class, intended for the non-scientist, focuses on the impact of exercise and nutrition on the human body. We will discuss topics such as how different types of training influence exercise performance; the changes that occur in the cardiovascular system during an exercise routine; the inherent limits of the body to perform aerobic and anaerobic tasks; and the long-term health consequences of a lifetime of activity of inactivity. We will also examine how nutrition and metabolism affect body composition. For example, we will rigorously and scientifically scrutinize the use of "fad" diets as a means to lose weight. [ more ]

    BIOL 134 / ENVI 134(S)The Tropics: Biology and Social Issues

    Intended for the non-scientist, this course explores the biological dimensions of social issues in tropical societies, and focuses on specifically on the peoples and cultures of tropical regions in Africa, Asia, Latin America, Oceanea, and the Caribbean. Tropical issues have become prominent on a global scale, and many social issues in the tropics are inextricably bound to human ecology, evolution, and physiology. The course begins with a survey of the tropical environment of humans, including major climatic and habitat features. The next section focuses on human population biology, and emphasizes demography and the role of disease particularly malaria and AIDS. The final part of the course covers the place of human societies in local and global ecosystems including the challenges of tropical food production, the importance of organic diversity, and the interaction of humans with their supporting ecological environment. This course fulfills the EDI requirement. Through lectures, debates and readings, students confront social issues in the tropics from the perspective of biologist. This builds a framework for lifelong exploration of human diversity. [ more ]

    BIOL 136Studying Human Genetic Diversity: Individuals, Populations, and 'Races'--Dangerous Biology

    Not offered this year

    Scientists are rapidly acquiring DNA sequence information on thousands of individuals from a wide variety of human populations. This information can be used to illuminate human history and evolution. It can also be used in the field of medicine to develop new drugs and as a first step toward tailoring treatments to match individuals' genomes. This information can also create new ethical and social dilemmas. Do such studies support or refute the idea of a biological basis for 'race'? Can the data be used to justify societal inequities? Do the data have any use outside of scientific circles? Through reading scientific articles we'll explore genome sequencing data to determine the types of DNA differences that exist among humans. We'll examine the data in the light of human population history (migration, population bottlenecks, selection) to understand how these variations come about. Throughout we'll discuss the implications of these studies for individuals and for society. In particular we'll critique the use of such information in guiding policy and practice in areas such as genetic screening and eugenics, ancestry testing, 'race-based' medicine, forensics. As an EDI course, we'll examine issues of power and privilege in shaping practice and policy associated with these genetic initiatives, such as in deciding what populations to study, in administering informed consent, and in addressing health disparities. [ more ]

    Taught by: TBA

    Catalog details

    BIOL 219 TDangerous Exposures: Environment, Immunity, and Infectious Disease

    Not offered this year

    Global reports of emerging infectious diseases and old diseases with new pathogenic properties incite fears for personal safety as well as national security. The specter of a contagious pandemic has captured the public imagination through the mass news media, movies, and even popular online and board games. In this tutorial course, we will explore the ecology and evolution of several recently emergent diseases such as Ebola hemorrhagic fever, dengue, and AIDS. Topics to be considered include transmission dynamics, epidemiological modeling of vaccination strategies, and wildlife reservoirs that contribute to human virus exposure. We will examine progress in preventing the parasitic disease malaria and why such diseases have proven so refractory. We will also discuss the science behind the recent development of the vaccine against the human papillomavirus, which causes cervical cancer, and the intriguing and highly unusual transmissible cancers in dogs and Tasmanian devils. Finally, we will think about the contributions of inadequate diagnostic capacities world-wide and broader issues of resource shortages in driving the global emergence of drug resistance in tuberculosis and other diseases. One common theme in each of these case studies will be the interplay between the host immune response and the evolution of the pathogen. Although the primary focus of the course is on biology rather than policy, each week's readings will have implications for public health and/or conservation biology. [ more ]

    BIOL 313(S)Immunology

    The rapidly evolving field of immunology examines the complex network of interacting molecules and cells that function to recognize and respond to agents foreign to the individual. In this course, we will focus on the biochemical mechanisms that act to regulate the development and function of the immune system and how alterations in different system components can cause disease. Textbook readings will be supplemented with current literature. [ more ]

    BIOL 315(F)Microbiology: Diversity, Cellular Physiology, and Interactions

    Bioterrorism and the alarming spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria are but two of the reasons for the resurgence of interest in the biology of microorganisms. This course will examine microbes from the perspectives of cell structure and function, genomics, and evolution. A central theme will be the adaptation of bacteria as they evolve to fill specific ecological niches, with an emphasis on microbe:host interactions that lead to pathogenesis. We will consider communication among bacteria as well as between bacteria and their environment. Topics include: microbial development, population dynamics, metagenomics, bioremediation, plant and animal defenses against infection, and bacterial strategies to subvert the immune system. In the lab, major projects will focus on horizontal gene transfer, metagenomics, and the isolation and characterization of bacteria from natural environments. The lab experience will culminate in multi-week independent investigations. Readings will be supplemented by articles from the primary literature. [ more ]

    PSYC 317 T / NSCI 317(F)Nature via Nurture: Topics in Developmental Psychobiology

    Do your genes determine who you are? This course examines the relative contributions of nature (genetics) and nurture (the environment) that lead to individual differences in behavior. Modern neuroscience techniques have discovered new relationships between genes and behavior. Conversely, recent studies on the effects of social factors suggest critical environmental influences on the expression of these genetic determinants. This tutorial will explore the theoretical and empirical issues in animal models of behavioral epigenetics. Topics include child neglect, antisocial behavior, addiction, anxiety, risk-taking, empathy, and depression. Each tutorial pair will design and conduct an empirical laboratory project that will explore their own experimental question about the interaction of genes and environment in determining behavioral phenotypes. [ more ]

    PSYC 335(F)Early Experience and the Developing Infant

    The period from conception to age three is marked by impressive rapidity in development and the plasticity of the developing brain affords both fetus and infant an exquisite sensitivity to context. This course delves into the literature that highlights the dynamic interactions between the developing fetus/infant and the environment. The course readings span a range of disciplines and cover a diversity of hot topics in the study of prenatal and infant development, including empirical research drawn from the developmental, neuroscience, psychopathology, and pediatric literatures. [ more ]

    CHEM 341 / ENVI 341(S)Toxicology and Cancer

    What is a poison and what makes it poisonous? Paracelcus commented in 1537: "What is not a poison? All things are poisons (and nothing is without poison). The dose alone keeps a thing from being a poison." Is the picture really this bleak; is modern technology-based society truly swimming in a sea of toxic materials? How are the nature and severity of toxicity established, measured and expressed? Do all toxic materials exert their effect in the same manner, or can materials be poisonous in a variety of different ways? Are the safety levels set by regulatory agencies low enough for a range of common toxic materials, such as mercury, lead, and certain pesticides? How are poisons metabolized and how do they lead to the development of cancer? What is cancer and what does it take to cause it? What biochemical defense mechanisms exist to counteract the effects of poisons?
    This course attempts to answer these questions by surveying the fundamentals of modern chemical toxicology and the induction and progression of cancer. Topics will range from description and quantitation of the toxic response, including risk assessment, to the basic mechanisms underlying toxicity, mutagenesis, carcinogenesis, and DNA repair.
    [ more ]

    CHEM 343Medicinal Chemistry

    Not offered this year

    This course explores the design, development, and function of pharmaceuticals. Fundamental concepts of organic chemistry are extended to the study of pharmacodynamics--the interactions between drugs and their targets that elicit a biological effect--and pharmacokinetics-the study of how the body absorbs, distributes, metabolizes, and eliminates drugs. The path of drug development is traced from discovery of an initial lead, through optimization of structure, to patenting and production. Mechanisms by which drugs target cell membranes, nucleic acids, and proteins are discussed. Drug interactions with enzyme and receptor targets are studied extensively. Specific drug classes selected for detailed analysis may include opiate analgesics, aspirin and other NSAIDs, antibacterial agents, cholinergic & adrenergic agents, CNS agents, as well as antiviral, antiulcer, and anticholesterol drugs. [ more ]

    BIOL 417Translational Immunology: From Bench to Bedside

    Not offered this year

    Recent advances in the field of immunology have led to the development of new approaches to prevent and treat diseases that affect millions of people worldwide. Drugs that modulate the body's natural immune response have become powerful tools in treating the world's major diseases--infection, autoimmunity and cancer. This course will use readings from the primary literature to explore central themes involved in translating basic research to new clinical and therapeutic approaches. Topics will include vaccine development, transplantation immunology, autoimmunity and cancer immunotherapy. [ more ]

  • Decision-Making by Institutions + Individuals

    ECON 205(F)Public Economics

    This course examines the role of the government in a market economy. Three broad issues are considered: under what conditions is government intervention in the economy appropriate? When merited what is the most effective form of intervention? What effects do government policies have on incentives and behavior?After examining these questions from a theoretical perspective, the course will turn to analysis of particular government spending programs in the United States including Social Security, various types of publicly-provided insurance, spending on education, and public assistance for the poor. Finally we will study how the government raises revenue through taxation. We will discuss the principles that guide tax design and consider the effects of the tax code on behavior. [ more ]

    PSCI 209 / WGSS 209(F)Poverty in America

    Although some protest that the U.S. is heading toward European-style socialism, social welfare programs in the U.S. differ in important ways from those in other wealthy and democratic nations. This course focuses on the adoption and development of policies to address poverty and inequality in the U.S. The issues we will explore include: What is poverty, and how do Americans perceive its dangers to individuals as well as the political community? What economic, historical, and sociological theories have been advanced to explain poverty? Why has the U.S. adopted some approaches to reduce poverty but not others? What enduring political conflicts have shaped the U.S. welfare state? [ more ]

    PSCI 228(F)International Organization

    Tens of thousands of international organizations populate our world. IGOs, whose members are governments of sovereigns, range from the Nordic Association for Reindeer Research to the UN and NATO; NGOs, whose members are private groups and individuals, include the International Seaweed Association as well as the International Committee of the Red Cross. We will examine where they come from, what they do, and to whom they matter, and will examine their agency, efficiency, and accountability. We cover the history, structures and functions of international organizations using case studies. [ more ]

    ECON 230The Economics of Health and Health Care

    Not offered this year

    In recent years, the intersection between health and economics has increased in importance. The costs of health care have been rising, although more slowly in the past few years. A substantial fraction of the United States population lacks health insurance, with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act intended to remedy that problem. In the United States and around the world the rising elderly population is putting increasing pressure on health spending. Globally, the HIV/AIDS pandemic is causing severe economic hardship, and many people lack access to basic health care. More positively, advances in health care have widened the scope of possible treatments. Given the importance of good health for individual well-being, it is not surprising that health, health care and how to pay for it are sources of anxiety for individuals and policymakers worldwide. In this course we will analyze the economics of health by applying standard microeconomic techniques to the problems of health and health care markets. The course focuses on three broad issues: the inputs to health and the demand for health care, the structure and consequences of public and private health insurance, and the supply of health care. Special attention will be devoted to topics of current public policy, including the problems of rising costs and cost containment, health insurance reform, the changing nature of healthcare provision, changing public policies in the Medicare and Medicaid programs, hospital competition, and the determinants and consequences of technological change in medicine. [ more ]

    ECON 242(F)Evaluating the Costs and Benefits of Public Policies

    How do we determine whether introducing a new vaccine is cost-effective and worth the investment costs or whether a policy to protect a wetland is worth the sacrifice? Is it possible to assess the economic consequences in terms of benefits and costs of new healthcare regulations? Economists typically use the tools of applied cost-benefit (CBA) and cost-effectiveness analysis (CEA) in order to address such policy questions. The goal of applied economic evaluations is to identify, measure, and value all relevant costs and benefits of new public policy investments and regulations. This course covers both theory and practice of economic appraisal of a public policy (an investment project, regulation, a specific treatment etc.), with an emphasis on health care and public health applications. The CBA and CEA methods covered in the class are widely used in many other policy areas as well, including public transportation, infrastructure investment and environmental policy. [ more ]

    Taught by: Mikael Svensson

    Catalog details

    PSCI 249 / INST 249From Beetroot to Zero Grazing: Comparative Response to AIDS in Africa

    Not offered this year

    As AIDS in African countries grew from a few cases in the mid-1980s to more generalized levels by the mid-1990s, government policy varied widely. Consider that while Kenyan medical officials denied the existence of AIDS (insisting that the four deaths reported in the press were due to skin cancer), in Senegal, President Diouf openly acknowledged AIDS and launched a national prevention and control program. South African President Mbeki and his health minister questioned whether HIV causes AIDS and suggested a garlic, beetroot, and lemon concoction as treatment, while in Uganda, President Yoweri Museveni developed a successful home-grown `Zero Grazing' campaign. Why did some African governments respond early and aggressively to AIDS, while others did essentially the opposite? What has worked and what hasn't in the fight against AIDS in African countries? Has political liberalization improved the responsiveness of African governments to AIDS? In this course we aim to better understand how politics and social factors shaped African countries' responses to AIDS. [ more ]

    PSYC 326Choice and Decision Making

    Not offered this year

    One aspect of "being human" is that we often make choices that we know are bad for us. In this course we survey theoretical and experimental approaches to understanding our strengths and weaknesses as decision makers. Topics include normative decision theories, biases in probability judgments, "fast and frugal" heuristics, impulsiveness and self-control, addictions and bad habits, gambling, and moral decision making. [ more ]

    ECON 381Global Health Policy Challenges

    Not offered this year

    Poor health is both a cause and a consequence of poverty. It can trap individuals in poverty and reduce aggregate economic growth. This course will be structured around major global health challenges, including maternal health, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, diarrheal disease, nutritional deficiencies and obesity. For each topic, we will first examine the prevalence of the problem. Then, we will turn to the evidence about the costs, benefits, and effectiveness of existing policy solutions. Finally, we will use this information to debate policy alternatives and develop policy recommendations that take into account budgetary, political, and social constraints. [ more ]

    ECON 465(S)Pollution and the Labor Market

    If your home town has polluted air, does that reduce your wage? Do you work less? Are you less likely to finish high school? These are specific versions of an important general question: how does pollution affect labor market outcomes? The answer matters for individual decisions (where to live) and government policies (air pollution regulations). This seminar begins from theories of optimizing worker behavior in the presence of pollution. Building on this foundation, we will critically evaluate new empirical research into the impacts of pollution on human capital, labor supply, and productivity. We will also study the impact of pollution regulations on wages and employment. Included papers will cover both developed and developing countries. [ more ]

    ECON 468(S)Your Money or Your Life: Health Disparities in the United States

    A 25-year-old man living in a high-income household can expect to live 10 years longer than his low-income counterpart. There are also stark differences in mortality and health by education, employment status, race, immigrant status, region, and gender. This course will explore many of the potential explanations for health disparities, including access to insurance and health care, health behaviors, stress, environmental exposure, and intergenerational transmission of health. We will emphasize causal inference and focus on assessing the quality of evidence. We will also investigate how government policies contribute to or ameliorate health disparities in the U.S. [ more ]

    ECON 504(F)Public Economics in Developing Countries

    This class is about microeconomic and empirical analysis of government expenditure programs in developing and transitional countries. It provides tools for understanding the effects of government policies, as well as a useful conceptual framework for analyzing normative questions such as "what role should government play in the economy" and "what is a good policy?" The course begins by considering the efficiency of market economies, and rationales for government intervention in the market, such as public goods, externalities, information-based market failures, imperfect competition, and equity. We also consider ways that human behavior might deviate from perfect rationality, and what that might imply for policy. Along the way, we apply these concepts to various examples of policy issues, including, among other things, the environment, education, health, infrastructure, security, social insurance, and aid to the poor. We then turn to the general question of how to make the government work better, addressing questions such as the following. When is it better to have the government own and produce things, and when is it better to privatize? What are the incentives of politicians and government employees, and how does the design of political and budgetary institutions affect the degree to which they serve the public interest? How should responsibilities be divided up between the central government and local governments, and what are the advantages and disadvantages of "decentralization?" What can be done to improve the delivery of basic services? For example, how might one address problems of corruption and absenteeism? Throughout the course, we consider examples of empirical research, and to facilitate this, we will occasionally introduce econometric tools that are particularly useful for microeconomic policy evaluation. [ more ]

  • Methods in Public Health

    PHLH 250(F)Qualitative Research Methods in Public Health

    Qualitative methods provide the opportunity to add in-depth meaning and context regarding research on individuals and the environments of study. This course introduces students to qualitative research theory in Public Health and gives them the opportunity to 'practice' three qualitative research methods; (1) in-depth interviewing, (2) focus groups and (3) participant observation. Students will have the opportunity to pilot each of these three qualitative research methods, analyze a subset of the data via qualitative analysis software, and design a qualitative research study (including the research instrument). We will cover best practices in reporting qualitative results (for the purposes of peer-reviewed publication) and learn about the advantages and disadvantages of qualitative research in various domestic and international settings related to public health (such as nutrition, HIV and physical activity). [ more ]

    Taught by: Marion Min-Barron

    Catalog details

    ECON 379Program Evaluation for International Development

    Not offered this year

    Development organizations face strict competition for scarce resources. Both public and private organizations are under increasing pressure to use rigorous program evaluation in order to justify funding for their programs and to design more effective programs. This course is an introduction to evaluation methodology and the tools available to development practitioners, drawing on examples from developing countries. It will cover a wide range of evaluation techniques and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each. The course is a mix of applied econometrics and practical applications covering implementation, analysis, and interpretation. You will learn to be a critical reader of evaluations, and to develop your own plan to evaluate an existing program of your choice. [ more ]

    MATH 410 T / BIOL 214Mathematical Ecology

    Not offered this year

    Using mathematics to study natural phenomena has become ubiquitous over the past couple of decades. In this tutorial, we will study mathematical models comprised of both deterministic and stochastic differential equations that are developed to understand ecological dynamics and, in many cases, evaluate the dynamical consequences of policy decisions. We will learn how to understand these models through both standard analytic techniques such as stability and bifurcation analysis as well as through simulation using computer programs such as MATLAB. Possible topics include fisheries management, disease ecology, control of invasive species, and predicting critical transitions in ecological systems. [ more ]

  • Nutrition and Food Security

    ENVI 208(S)Science and Politics in Environmental Decision Making

    This course explores the relationship between science and politics in environmental decision-making. How do legislators know when a species is endangered and warrants protection? What precautions should be applied in allowing genetically modified foods onto our plates? Can we, and should we, weigh the risks of malaria against the impacts of pesticides used to control those mosquitoes that transmit the disease? How has the global community come together to understand the risks from global climate change, and how has this understanding shaped our policy responses? What are some of the limits of science in shaping policy outcomes? In addressing these and other questions, we will pay particular attention to how power relations and existing institutions shape what knowledge, and whose knowledge, is taken on board in decision-making, be it at the local, national or global level. We will delve into how these dynamics shape policy outcomes and we will also examine novel approaches for incorporating the knowledge of traditionally disempowered groups, including indigenous and local communities. [ more ]

    AFR 211 / AMST 211 / ENVI 211 / SOC 211(F)Race and the Environment

    In contemporary societies, race remains an enduring impediment to the achievement of equality. Generally understood as a socially meaningful way of classifying human bodies hierarchically, race manifests itself in a number of arenas, including personal experience, economic production and distribution, and political organization. In this course, we will explore how race emerges in local and global environmental issues, like pollution and climate change. We will begin with a review of some of the landmark texts in Environmental Studies that address "environmental racism," like Robert Bullard's Dumping in Dixie and David Pellow's Garbage Wars. We will examine how and to what extent polluting facilities like landfills, oil refineries, and sewage treatment plants are disproportionately located in communities of color; we will also pay attention to how specific corporations create the underlying rationale for plotting industrial sites. After outlining some of the core issues raised in this scholarship, we will turn to cultural productions--like literature, film, and music--to understand how people of color respond to environmental injustice and imagine the natural world. [ more ]

    BIOL 220 / ENVI 220(S)Field Botany and Plant Natural History

    This field-lecture course covers the evolutionary and ecological relationships among plant groups represented in our local and regional flora. Lectures focus on the evolution of the land plants, the most recent developments in plant systematics, characteristics of plant families, and cultural -economic uses of plants, especially native species. The labs cover field identification, natural history, and ecology of local species. [ more ]

    PHLH 220(S)Nutrition in the Developing World

    Global malnutrition continues to represent one of the most challenging issues of international development. Problems of both under- and over-nutrition beginning as early as in utero can detrimentally influence the health, development and survival of resource-limited populations. This course introduces students to the most prevalent nutritional issues through a food policy perspective and exposes them to a wide variety of interventions, policies and current debates in the field of international nutrition. Each week will feature a specific macro- or micro-nutrient and highlight the multi-level programmatic approaches for the prevention and treatment of the related nutritional problem. Readings will involve both real-world programmatic documents/evaluations as well as peer-reviewed journal articles. Examples will be drawn from Africa, Asia and Latin America. [ more ]

    Taught by: Marion Min-Barron

    Catalog details

    ENVI 233The Industrial Animal

    Not offered this year

    This class is inspired by a January 2015 New York Times expose written by the food journalist Michael Moss. "At a remote research center on the Nebraska plains," he wrote, "scientists are using surgery and breeding techniques to re-engineer the farm animal to fit the needs of the 21st-century meat industry. The potential benefits are huge: animals that produce more offspring, yield more meat and cost less to raise. There are, however, some complications." There are always complications. In this class, we examine the historical development of the industrial animal. Exploring the physical, scientific, and political infrastructures that support American industrial meat production, we pay critical attention to the biological complications that have arisen in shaping animal life to fit the needs of the modern factory. We examine the methods--from synthetic vitamins and artificial light to antibiotics and artificial insemination--industrial producers use to overcome the obstacles of biology. Finally, we consider the industrialization of the meat animal in the context of the industrialization of feedstuff crops like corn and soy, changing US consumption patterns, local and national food politics, and the human labor that makes it all possible. [ more ]

    ENVI 283 / PSCI 283(F)Dirty Politics: Regulating Hazardous Chemicals and Wastes

    Since consumers were first introduced to the promise of "better living through chemistry," society has had to wrestle with the impacts, often far removed in place and time, resulting from a rapid proliferation of hazardous chemicals and wastes. Policy responses, be they at the local, national or global scale, are often limited to reactionary efforts to counter releases into the environment, are constrained by the prevalent use of the technologies in question, and further bring to the fore key challenges of environmental justice and risk management. How then are we to regulate DDT without adversely affecting our fight against mosquito-borne malaria? How might we preserve the ozone layer while still maintaining the benefits of food preservation through refrigeration? How can we reap the benefits of the electronic age without condoning the steady flow of electronic waste affecting workers' health and environments in developing countries? Emphasis will be placed on understanding the politics that bring about, and allow us to address, these problems.We will be examining in particular novel policy responses, including the US' revised legislation on chemicals passed in 2016 and citizen science initiatives such as those that brought attention to the crisis of lead-contaminated water in Flint, MI. [ more ]

    BIOL 308Integrative Plant Biology: Fundamentals and New Frontiers

    Not offered this year

    Plants are one of the most successful groups of organisms on Earth and have a profound impact on all life. Successful use of plants in addressing global problems and understanding their role in natural ecosystems depends on fundamental knowledge of the molecular mechanisms by which they grow, develop, and respond to their environment. This course will examine the molecular physiology of plants using an integrative approach that considers plants as dynamic, functional units in their environment. Major emphasis will be on understanding fundamental plant processes, such as photosynthesis, growth and development, water transport, hormone physiology, and flowering, from the molecular to the organismal level. Environmental effects on these processes will be addressed in topics including photomorphogenesis, stress physiology, mineral nutrition, and plant-microbe interactions. Discussions of original research papers will examine the mechanisms plants use to perform these processes and explore advances in the genetic engineering of plants for agricultural, environmental, and medical purposes. Laboratory activities stress modern approaches and techniques used in investigating plant physiological processes. [ more ]

    BIOL 422 / ENVI 422Ecology of Sustainable Agriculture

    Not offered this year

    A seminar/field course investigating patterns, processes, and concepts of stability in human-dominated, food production ecosystems. As a capstone course, the course will draw upon the experiences that students have had in biology and environmental studies courses. Topics will include: the relationships among diversity, ecosystem function, sustainability, resilience, and stability of food production, distribution systems, nutrient pools and processing in human dominated ecosystems. Two extensive field trips will be taken to agricultural operations in the region. Each student will present a seminar on a topic requiring extensive reading of primary resources and is responsible for leading the discussion that ensues. Reading question paper assignments will be due prior to the seminar. Criticism paper assignments will be made at approximately bi-weekly intervals and due two days after the seminar to which they relate. [ more ]

  • Reproductive, Maternal and Child Health

    WGSS 249 / ANTH 248 / ASST 248 / INST 248 / REL 248Body Politics in South Asia: Gender, Sex, Religion, and Nation

    Not offered this year

    This course examines the relationship between body, gender, sex, and society in South Asia, using three countries and religions---India, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh, and Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam---as its foil. The course uses the body as a lens by which to unpack South Asian discourses that link body and sexuality with nation, community, and population. In particular, it explores a South Asian sociology that links individual and social bodies in ways that occasion solidarity as well as social suffering, violence as well as communal cohesion. How do bodies come to signify the purity or prosperity of the nation or community and with what social or discursive effects? We begin by unpacking foundational theories of the body as proposed by Mauss, Foucault, Douglas, and Bourdieu in order to better understand how local discourses of the body help produce gender and other social hierarchies in South Asia. By considering how the human body can serve as a map for society and vice versa, we examine both classical discourses and modern institutional practices of the body including the temple, the monastery, the mosque, and the mendicant, as well as bodily practices such as yoga, celibacy, sex work, and new reproductive technologies. We also analyze how the body has served as a symbol of nation, community, and social health. Throughout, we are interested in the cross-cutting effects of gender and sex in perpetuating structural hierarchies and social suffering around the body in South Asia. [ more ]

    ANTH 272 / WGSS 272Sex and the Reproduction of Society

    Not offered this year

    Why is reproduction such a controversial subject in society today, especially in areas of medicine, culture, and religion? And why is the reproductive body subject to such highly ideological and yet contradictory types of practices and discourses across the globe? This course seeks to examine the myriad ways that societies police the range of practices surrounding reproduction--including fertility, conception, pregnancy, birth, abortion, and motherhood. We will pursue a comparative analysis of reproduction across major societies and cultures, through an in-depth look at specialized topics such as the new reproductive technologies, the medicalization and ritualization of obstetrics in America, the continuing controversies over abortion across the globe, and the ongoing debates about the rise of women and the 'End of Men'. Throughout the course, we remain focused on the cultural, social, and medical construction of birth and reproduction more generally. To this end, we explore the varying ritual and medical practices that surround reproduction in different cultural contexts, from high tech to low tech settings and societies. We will deconstruct the process of human reproduction through readings culled from a variety of cultures and disciplines including anthropology, medicine, religious studies, sociology, and gender and sexuality studies. [ more ]

    PSYC 317 T / NSCI 317(F)Nature via Nurture: Topics in Developmental Psychobiology

    Do your genes determine who you are? This course examines the relative contributions of nature (genetics) and nurture (the environment) that lead to individual differences in behavior. Modern neuroscience techniques have discovered new relationships between genes and behavior. Conversely, recent studies on the effects of social factors suggest critical environmental influences on the expression of these genetic determinants. This tutorial will explore the theoretical and empirical issues in animal models of behavioral epigenetics. Topics include child neglect, antisocial behavior, addiction, anxiety, risk-taking, empathy, and depression. Each tutorial pair will design and conduct an empirical laboratory project that will explore their own experimental question about the interaction of genes and environment in determining behavioral phenotypes. [ more ]

    PSYC 335(F)Early Experience and the Developing Infant

    The period from conception to age three is marked by impressive rapidity in development and the plasticity of the developing brain affords both fetus and infant an exquisite sensitivity to context. This course delves into the literature that highlights the dynamic interactions between the developing fetus/infant and the environment. The course readings span a range of disciplines and cover a diversity of hot topics in the study of prenatal and infant development, including empirical research drawn from the developmental, neuroscience, psychopathology, and pediatric literatures. [ more ]

    PSYC 337Temperament and Biobehavioral Development

    Not offered this year

    This class will explore individual differences in reactivity and self-regulation in infancy and childhood. Developmental, ethological, and neuroscience models will serve as the foundation for the exploration of the construct of temperament. Topics will include biobehavioral models of reactivity to stress and novelty, including research examining individual differences in neuroendocrine, electrophysiological, and emotional responding. Individual differences in self-regulation will be explored, and will focus heavily on the literature examining the development of attention and other executive control processes in infancy and early childhood. Longitudinal research that examines continuity and change in temperament from infancy through adulthood will be examined. The contributions of genetics and the contextual influences on temperament trajectories will be explored, including research demonstrating the influence of caregivers and gene-by-environment interactions. [ more ]

    PSYC 350Child Psychopathology

    Not offered this year

    This course explores the rapidly evolving field of psychological disorders in childhood and adolescence. We will examine the intertwined effects of individual characteristics (e.g., genetics, neurobiological factors), relationship processes (e.g., parenting, family functioning, peers), community settings (e.g., schools, neighborhoods), and the broader cultural context (e.g., poverty, stigma, media). Using a developmental framework, we will examine the emergence and maintenance of specific psychological disorders, as well as variations in how children cope with cataclysmic stressors (chronic illness, physical and sexual abuse). The goals of this course include (1) appreciation of the dynamic interplay between biology and experience in the unfolding of psychopathology, (2) exploration of diagnostic criteria and phenomenology of specific disorders, and (3) exposure to a wide range of research-based strategies for prevention and intervention. [ more ]

    PSYC 352(F)Clinical and Community Psychology

    This course provides an overview of theory, methods, and professional issues in the fields of clinical and community psychology (and related fields). In addition to academic work (primary source readings and class discussions), students are encouraged to apply their experiences in academic psychology to field settings, and to use their fieldwork experience to critically evaluate theory and research. The course includes a supervised field-work placement arranged by the instructor in a local mental health or social service agency. Prior to registration, students must complete a brief survey about their interests and schedule in order to place them in an agency. Students should email the instructor to obtain the survey as well as receive permission to register for this course. [ more ]

    HIST 378 / WGST 378The History of Sexuality in America

    Not offered this year

    Sex is often thought of as an unchanging need, behavior, or instinct--a form of experience without history. And yet even in the recent past, sexual desires, acts, identities, attitudes, and technologies have undergone profound transformations. This course explores those transformations, tracing the shifting and contested meanings and experiences of sex and sexuality from the pre-colonial period to the present, and examining how and why sexuality has become so central to identities, culture, politics, and history. To understand how sexuality has been regulated by the state and what sexuality has meant to ordinary Americans in the past, we will use a wide range of primary sources, including as private letters, law cases, photographs, films, and music. Many of the topics are relevant to contemporary public debates, including controversies over censorship, sexual violence, gay and lesbian sexualities, transgender identities and politics, abortion, and sexually transmitted diseases. [ more ]

  • Social Determinants of Health

    PSCI 209 / WGSS 209(F)Poverty in America

    Although some protest that the U.S. is heading toward European-style socialism, social welfare programs in the U.S. differ in important ways from those in other wealthy and democratic nations. This course focuses on the adoption and development of policies to address poverty and inequality in the U.S. The issues we will explore include: What is poverty, and how do Americans perceive its dangers to individuals as well as the political community? What economic, historical, and sociological theories have been advanced to explain poverty? Why has the U.S. adopted some approaches to reduce poverty but not others? What enduring political conflicts have shaped the U.S. welfare state? [ more ]

    AFR 211 / AMST 211 / ENVI 211 / SOC 211(F)Race and the Environment

    In contemporary societies, race remains an enduring impediment to the achievement of equality. Generally understood as a socially meaningful way of classifying human bodies hierarchically, race manifests itself in a number of arenas, including personal experience, economic production and distribution, and political organization. In this course, we will explore how race emerges in local and global environmental issues, like pollution and climate change. We will begin with a review of some of the landmark texts in Environmental Studies that address "environmental racism," like Robert Bullard's Dumping in Dixie and David Pellow's Garbage Wars. We will examine how and to what extent polluting facilities like landfills, oil refineries, and sewage treatment plants are disproportionately located in communities of color; we will also pay attention to how specific corporations create the underlying rationale for plotting industrial sites. After outlining some of the core issues raised in this scholarship, we will turn to cultural productions--like literature, film, and music--to understand how people of color respond to environmental injustice and imagine the natural world. [ more ]

    WGSS 230 / AFR 230(F)Gender, Sexuality, and Global HIV/AIDS

    The global pandemic of HIV/AIDS is now entering into its fourth decade. Throughout this history sexuality, gender and race and inequality have played a central role in the spread of the virus, and its apparent entrenchment in certain communities. This class will use a gendered, interdisciplinary perspective to investigate the pandemic's social, economic and political causes, impact, and conundrums--the problems it poses for scholarship, activism, public policy, and public health. Issues discussed will include the role of transaction sex and economic structures in both susceptibility to HIV and vulnerability to its impact; stigma and its challenges for HIV prevention, testing and treatment uptake; the role of positive youth in the next stages of the pandemic; and the evolving expressions of biopower in the global AIDS response. The class will look at examples of successful policies and activism as well as the failures, corruption and complacency that have characterized the global pandemic. There will be a particular geographical focus on experiences in the U.S. and sub-Saharan Africa. The class is an EDI course because of its focus on diversity and difference, as they shape the different ways that the HI virus plays out on the bodies of people in different global locations, and its discussion of the ways that global and local contexts of colonialism. patriarchy, and heteronormativity have inevitably shaped relationships between policy makers, researchers, activists, and those living with HIV and ultimately the content of their policies and interventions. [ more ]

    ANTH 371 / WGSS 371(F)Medicine, Pathology, and Power: An Ethnographic View

    How do medical anthropologists examine and interpret health and illness in relation to the intersectional issues of gender, race, class, and sexuality today? We consider how medical anthropologists employ ethnographic techniques such as participant observation and reflexive interviewing once characterized as "deep hanging out", in order to analyze the distribution of health and other forms of social power between and within groups & societies. Through experiential inquiries and local fieldwork projects, we will investigate how the structural violence of race, class, & gender produce systemic health inequalities. We explore the interplay of social power and difference , while attending to the ways that these social facts shape health outcomes among the most marginalized or vulnerable populations and individuals in society. We read a selection of medical ethnographies and then pursue individual fieldwork projects on or off-campus that explore the social determinants of health outcomes, health behaviors, and access to healthcare. Our goal is a better understanding of the limits and strengths of ethnographic inquiry as we experience the challenges of qualitative research in communities always already split by diverse actors and agendas . [ more ]

    ECON 380(S)Population Economics

    This course is an introduction to the economic analysis of demographic behavior and the economic consequences of demographic change. An important aim is to familiarize students with historical and contemporary trends in fertility, mortality, migration, and family composition, and the implications of these trends for the economy. The course demonstrates the application of microeconomic theory to demographic behavior, including fertility, marriage, and migration. Students are introduced to basic techniques of demographic measurement and mathematical demography. Selected topics include the economic consequences of population growth in developing countries, the economics of fertility and female labor force participation, the effects of an older age structure on the social security system, and the relationship between population growth and natural resources. [ more ]

    ECON 468(S)Your Money or Your Life: Health Disparities in the United States

    A 25-year-old man living in a high-income household can expect to live 10 years longer than his low-income counterpart. There are also stark differences in mortality and health by education, employment status, race, immigrant status, region, and gender. This course will explore many of the potential explanations for health disparities, including access to insurance and health care, health behaviors, stress, environmental exposure, and intergenerational transmission of health. We will emphasize causal inference and focus on assessing the quality of evidence. We will also investigate how government policies contribute to or ameliorate health disparities in the U.S. [ more ]